EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.25.10

Patents Roundup: EU Patent Deform, MPEG-LA, OIN, New Zealand, and Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yellow flagpoles

Summary: Remarks, analysis, and developments as told mostly by FFII and its affiliates in Europe (who also care deeply about what happened in New Zealand this week)

As indicated earlier this month, the European UPLS seemingly collapsed [1, 2], taking down with it the possibility of software patents expansion in Europe — for now. According to this long post, the zombie is not dead yet.

Then, in the early morning hours of the very last day of the summit, after endless hours of toughest negotiations, a bunch of bleary-eyed Heads of State, deprieved of sleep, will somehow find the final compromise on the EU patent reform project.

Let’s hope not.

Benjamin Henrion, the president of the FFII, remarked on it by saying that it shows the “Financial crisis of Spain as a bargaining chip for getting rid of Spanish resistance in EU patent” and Florian Müller declined to comment about it on the record (it’s kept private at his request). He did, however, make public information he has been gathering for a while by contacting MPEG-LA and other parties like Google.

One might assume that MPEG LA’s obvious desire to maximize its royalty income would practically guarantee that all significant companies infringing its patents would be pursued. But the worldwide market is huge and if you have a country that’s only medium-sized, then MPEG LA may decide for efficiency reasons to collect royalties only from the market leader. That one would face a risk of litigation if refusing to pay, but if that licensee’s competitors don’t pay because MPEG LA doesn’t go after them for the time being, then that’s an awkward situation for the licensee.

As a reminder, MPEG-LA is an NPE (patent troll) headed by a patent troll. We wrote about this subject in posts such as:

“If you saw my posting of yesterday on MPEG LA’s licensing terms,” wrote Florian Müller to us, “I guess it is an area where we may not be able to agree. We can’t agree on the DPL for now (like the DPL, although I really think you should give it a fair chance and look at it when it’s done because it could really pave the way toward abolition over the course of several years. That’s normal. But concerning codecs, PJ grossly misrepresents the facts by claiming I prefer MPEG’s stuff to WebM. I pointed out different aspects of them in different blog postings without ever saying I advocate one or the other. I left no doubt about my preference for a patent-free format but I have a “show me, I’m from Missouri” attitude about that one and indemnification would change the situation in a very positive way for me as I wrote on my blog. I don’t say MPEG LA isn’t a problem, but looking at what they charge vs. the business that licensees do it’s clearly a small problem in the field of patent licensing. Those who don’t offer licenses at all or only on unreasonable terms are far more problematic. Doing away with software patents would be the right thing to do and it would determine that there’s no cost for any codec. In the meantime I for my part do make a distinction between somewhat acceptable licensing terms and anticompetitive practices.”

Müller also pointed out that “the IDG News story on NEON’s impending EU antitrust complaint against IBM shows the usual patent holder rhetoric of “copycat” and investment in innovation. Unlike MPEG LA, that’s a patent holder who simply wants to shut out competition and nothing else.” We wrote about NEON in [1, 2].

Müller’s interests do not intersect with those of GNU/Linux, just as an important reminder. Regarding Canonical joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), Dana Blankenhorn shows Groklaw’s take on Müller but also Müller’s take on OIN [1, 2]. To quote an insightful portion:

The Founding Members direct policy, licensees can agree to put down their legal briefs, while Associate Members pay an unspecified fee and will exist somewhere in the middle.

“In mobile and in desktop we’re bringing in relationships where people provide a financial commitment, which we’re not announcing the amount, to support the evolution of OIN’s activities into these new areas,” said Bergelt.

In other words, expect a select few other companies to be invited. Perhaps as many as a half-dozen. They and the Founding Members will keep Bergelt’s 22-member staff employed.

That’s one of the issues with the OIN. There is danger that it will serve its own interests rather than just eliminate some of its own software patents. LiMo has a patents pool too by the way. It’s not necessarily helping in a world which is overwhelmingly against software patents. It feeds the software patents proponents. “Anti-free software lobbyists discuss patents on standards, all videos on Youtube,” writes Benjamin Henrion in order to show what they are doing in Europe these days. It’s quite similar to what they do in New Zealand — a subject that we covered many times this year, even in this latest post about the sad outcome. Benjamin Henrion writes to Free software advocates in New Zealand:

Hi,

You have to be aware what is the strategy of IBM and Microsoft when they try to push for the infamous “as such” provision.

A German court has recently made Microsoft FAT patentable, despite the exclusion of computer programs “as such” from the law (the EPC).

Patent judges tends to interpret this provision as “a computer program as such is a computer program on a piece of paper” and this is what is excluded. On the other side, when the program runs on the computer, it becomes patentable.

If you are interested in clarifications to bring in New Zealand, you can take inspiration from the FFII´s 10 core clarifications:

http://consultation.ffii.org/Clarifications

Separately, it’s worth highlighting this new story about non-practicing entity (NPEs). Again, NPEs are patent trolls. “ASP (anti-patent troll company) will resell patents to trolls after 12 months,” remarks on it FFII’s president. Here are some quotes:

I’ve just sat through the IPBC session titled “Getting to Grips with NPEs”. Now that was a session which generated real emotion in me, and showed how amazing us humans are at spending time and effort on things that are ultimately meaningless.

I went through a large range of emotions. I started out neutral . Here we go, just another session about trolls, trolls justifying why even trolls do social good (we help small inventors make money from their IP!-well done, good for you), lawyers arguing over technicalities (rule 11, blah, blah blah), the anti-troll lobby screaming about how unfair the system is to allow this abuse and Dan McCurdy (we’ll come back to him later) giving his troll stats.

I quickly got into irritated. Mainly as the session was dominated by American accents justifying their respective positions. Mild anger soon followed. More American accents, more justification, more self-justifying arguments.

Soon followed by seething. Vigorous agreement with Nokia (great speech, really great speech Dr Schneider) and Technicolor (ex Thomson, good “I hate trolls” speech Beatrice de Russé). I found myself wanting to applaud. C’mon the anti-troll lobby!!!There was little room for middle ground in the room. And, for me, the anti-troll camp has my lifetime vote.

[...]

Dan McCurdy is a legend in the IP world. An IBMer under Marshall Phelps, a licensing expert/jobbing consultant in Thinkfire (I’m sure I recall his profile with a dollar amount against his face for his lifetime licensing dollars generated), now AST. But how can these two statements be reconciled? Statement 1, timed at about 46 minutes in “I would be delighted to close down AST tomorrow if the NPE problem went away!!” (hooray!!), and then, at around 58 minutes in “When we buy patents in for our AST members, we commit to sell them within 12 months, and we sell them to the highest bidder, we sell to operating companies, aggregators, and….to NPEs”.

Excuse me, come again….WHAT!!! You perpetuate the problem by selling on patents, to NPE’s, who can then sue those who don’t have licenses as they aren’t your members.

Notice the presence of Marshall Phelps. That’s one heck of a troll (he builds or assembles patent portfolios, not products) who recently helped Microsoft fight against GNU/Linux and Free software, having previously helped IBM.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Great News: While IBM et al Try to Undermine Patent Reform the Supreme Court Deepens the Reform in TC Heartland Case

    In a unanimous decision, with the court ruling 8-0 against TC Heartland, the monkey business in East Texas (beneficial to patent trolls and large businesses that leverage software patents) may have just come to an end



  2. Speculations About Battistelli's End of Term, Campinos at EUIPO, and Failed UPC Ambitions

    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  3. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  4. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  5. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  6. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  7. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  8. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  9. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  10. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  11. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  12. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  13. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  14. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  15. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  16. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  17. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  18. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  19. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  20. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  21. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  22. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  23. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  24. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  25. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  26. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  27. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  28. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)



  29. Links 10/5/2017: Mesa 17.1, Git 2.13, Qt Creator 4.3 RC1, MINIX 3.4 RC6

    Links for the day



  30. Team UPC Still Twists and Fabricates Statements to Make It Seem Like Unitary Patent is Happening Soon

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a terrible system which was envisioned and covertly constructed by those who stand to benefit/profit from injunctions and trolling, is not going anywhere, but media which is dominated by Team UPC would have us believe otherwise


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts